SRI LANKA: More bang for your buck 

Nilantha Ilangamuwa

I ask no monument, proud and high,
To arrest the gaze of the passers-by;
All that my yearning spirit craves,
Is bury me not in a land of slaves – Frances Harper

Read this carefully. Our politicians are not that stupid but maybe we are? You may have different answers: we may debate for years and publish thousands of pages of our conscientious stupidity and the sincere ignorance of the politicos. But what would be the result or a decent harvest at the end of the day?  Who is going to have the last laugh? What are we weeding nowadays? Even, our limitation of time has been stolen by selected families who have been manipulating absolute power over the past few decades, all the while killing the system of social institutions in Sri Lanka. What they are doing is to highlight the message “Why even bother telling a lie when you can bullshit your way through”.  When we listen to their bullshit they are not smiling at us, but laughing at us, their natural smiles are not about themselves but about us and the fact that we have been fooled yet again. This is the harvest we are weeding through our ways.


A scene from a May Day rally in Colombo, 2012

Over the past few months we have been hearing about new discoveries made by Sri Lankan politicians. One discovered that Rs. 2,500 was enough for a person to survive on and sufficient to keep him alive for a month. Another one discovered, that the famous novel, ‘The Old Man and the Sea’, was written by Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant, while another who holds the status of a politician and Cabinet Minister of the Government, discovered that Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was the first pilot to arrive on the Moon. Another claimed that Jesus was killed on the Cross by Arabians, while a Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, who holds a doctorate, discovered that Galileo was poisoned to death. Yet another person, who is an actor turned film maker, claimed that the President Rajapaksa has blood relationship with Lord Buddha, who was a social reformist and a person who introduced principalities of personal liberty and founder of Buddhism, in India. Meanwhile another minister discovered that paddy is a cross pollination plant.

These are all new discoveries of various Cabinet Ministers and their secretaries in the Sri Lankan political laboratory, over the past few weeks which reflect the capabilities of our politicians, who were elected through a ‘cynical manipulated’ electoral process by the people. They are not only trying to change the history of the Island Nation but also the history of the World. Meanwhile, one of the delegates who went to South Korea with the President slept in peace while others were having discussions with senior officials to strengthen bilateral relations between two nations, as per recent media reports. This is the real picture of our present political trend which is based on their skill of legitimizing the stupidity of a varmint.

As a consequence the People have lost their public space which has been taken over and occupied by the almighty power seen to be above the law. What we have to understand is this: the struggle that we are facing nowadays is that they are trying to throw out the notion of moral progress against injustice, which is not too easy. Sri Lanka is the best example for the study of a power struggle between justice and injustice.

A well-known scholar in India Dr. Rajan Gurukkal, pointed out at a public gathering reflecting on the present situation in Sri Lanka, “We shall not be ruled by sentiments alone. We need transcendence. Nevertheless we place on history several of our disillusionments. National pride, national sentiments, hegemonies, ritualistic practices, cultural legacies etc are imposed on history and consequently it gets distorted and misrepresented.”

The regime is systematically killing the core notions of the system, and then they are forcing us to accept what they are dishing out to us as the system, which is, in fact, no system at all. After they destroyed the education system they went into other social sectors and as a result the entire society is being rune in disorder.

Dr. Gurukkal further observed, “Education must lead to agitation. An illumined mind by education should question the distortion and misrepresentation of history. What remains are the remnants of our eschewed culture and history. But education demands conformity with the existing system. It prescribes impartiality and neutrality.” It is not difficult to understand what went wrong with us. This is not a problem that any particular race in the country is facing but is the common scenario that we all are facing. This was also why the so called elite class politicians in Jaffna objected when the then Education Minister, the Late Mr. Dahanayake, allocated teaching jobs for the youth in Jaffna.

History has proven that our society was divided into micro pieces, and diversity was used as a tool of social control to spread fear among the people. Then ‘injustice’ would be unquestionable, and society obeyed whatever the mighty powers ordered. This heretic social evolution has been questioned in 71, 88-89, and by Tamil Militants, but unfortunately that too had many weaknesses because we did not fight for the common goal together. Most of our leaders don’t have the capacity to lead their political parties, and other followers of the parties do not move to correct the leadership but rather keep seeking the leadership for themselves.  The reason behind the dozens of political parties in Sri Lanka is our niggling internal departmentalization.  We will not receive more bang for our buck unless we are able to appreciate the real meaning of life and the validity of the lives sacrificed by others for our real freedom.  Mere surface effort will not be effective when sincere ignorance continues to rule.

Document Type : Article
Document ID : AHRC-ART-038-2012
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Freedom of assembly, Freedom of association, Freedom of expression, Freedom of religion, Rule of law,